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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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The partners understood each other at Teheran without the need of
words—for they were the men who had participated in, or at any rate
well remembered the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
Washington's attitude towards the Kremlin was to change after Pearl
Harbour. A declaration of war against Japan., or at least the permission
for the Americans to operate from Soviet territory, would have con-
siderably eased the former's counter-attack on that country. The Pacific
was of greater interest to United States than to London, and there can be
no question but that from the first moment Moscow played its Japanese
suit for all it was worth, giving illusive hints and delaying any concrete
promises of commitments. As the future was to reveal, Stalin did not
make capital from it publicly till the Spring of 1945, when the threat of a
separate peace with Germany had become valueless and, as the first proof
of his good-will, he did not renew his Treaty with Japan.
In Roosevelt's desire to gain Stalin's support for his plan for the
stabilisation of world peace and for his co-operation against Japan, the
American leader stepped along the fatal path of concessions and had little
to say when Stalin in his turn placed a demand for a similar zone of
security in Europe as the United States possessed in America. The
Monroe doctrine, so good for Washington, would, argued Stalin, be good
for Moscow as well! To fall in with this argument, Roosevelt would
have to acknowledge that the ideological differences which had hitherto
been a source of concern to him were no longer of any importance now,
and so for certain promises of co-operation, Stalin was able to achieve a
new triumph by dividing the Anglo-Saxon Powers.
Britain alone, therefore, stood out against Stalin, who was fully aware
that, in the event of protest and refusal to discuss the matter further, he
could still turn to Germany and receive from her the Ribbentrop-Molotov
Line at any rate. Churchill, with his plan for the federation of Europe
under moral British leadership, with the Atlantic Charter and war-aims
behind him (in which a Poland within the frontiers of 1939 was under-
stood to be the first item), had scant chance of winning this game.
The Russian preparations for the meeting and the background against
which they had manoeuvred to set it, were far from meaningless. First
of all, there had never at any time been any question of Stalin agreeing to
leave the Soviet Union and meet the partners somewhere abroad. The
men, born of the revolution^ who were moulding the ruling class in Russia
and who, as Trotsky wrote in his " Defence of Terrorism,95 " were never
concerned with the Kantian—priestly and vegetarian—Quaker prattle
about the sacredness of human life; " these men were very far from
presuming Stalin would ever take the risk of leaving Russia, placing
himself under the protection, or ratherc at the mercy of Capitalist agents.'
His predecessors in the Kremlin had not been particularly fortunate